Thursday, June 13, 2024

Biden Calls Ottoman-era Killings of Armenians a Genocide

Washington, DC – Within 100 days of being sworn-in as the US President, Joe Biden became the first US president to issue a statement formally describing the 1915 massacre of Armenians as a genocide.

The Biden statement came as Armenia commemorates the start of the mass killings, reading, “We remember the lives of all those who died in the Ottoman-era Armenian genocide and recommit ourselves to preventing such an atrocity from ever again occurring.

“And we remember so that we remain ever-vigilant against the corrosive influence of hate in all its forms.”

Biden clarified that the US intention was “not to cast blame but to ensure that what happened is never repeated.”

Turkey Reacts

The reactions were quick to pour in – globally in support, while Turkish foreign ministry retorted that they “reject and denounce in the strongest terms the statement”, saying it had been “made under the pressure of radical Armenian circles and anti-Turkey groups.”

“This statement of the US, which distorts the historical facts, will never be accepted in the conscience of the Turkish people, and will open a deep wound that undermines our mutual trust and friendship,” it added.

Rejecting “entirely” the US statement, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted: “We will not take lessons from anyone on our history.”

Armenia Welcomes

Calling Biden’s statement as having “honored the memory” of the massacred, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in a tweet: “The US has once again demonstrated its unwavering commitment to protecting human rights and universal values.”

Canada Echoes

Mentioning Armenian Genocide Memorial Day, also known as Medz Yeghern, the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, echoed the US sentiments saying: “Today on Armenian Genocide Memorial Day, we join Armenian communities in Canada and around the world to remember those who lost their lives and who suffered from the senseless acts wrought upon the Armenian people. We also honour their descendants and all those who continue to live with the pain, trauma, and loss from this tragedy.”

“The Armenian genocide showed the world the unconscionable cost of division, exclusion, and hatred … We continue to be inspired by the strength and spirit of the Armenian people in the face of unimaginable hardship, and look forward with hope to a more peaceful, just tomorrow,” added the Canadian PM.

Organizations Applaud

Welcoming the Biden statement, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Chairman Raffi Hamparian said in a statement, posted on their website: “President Biden’s principled stand on the Armenian Genocide today – powerfully overriding Ankara’s foreign veto against honest American remembrance of this crime – pivots America toward the justice deserved and the security required for the future of the Armenian nation – a landlocked, blockaded, genocide-survivor state.”

Dhiman Deb Chaudhary, President of Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM) in a statement to IAT wrote: “Remembering the victims of Armenian Genocide, as people who suffered a genocide in 1971 at the hands of Pakistan Army, we take inspiration from our Armenian brethren and salute their resilience and courage. They waited 106 years,” adding, “Glad to see President Biden recognize the genocide that Armenians faced and honor their martyrs.”

Expressing solidarity with the Armenian community, Coalition of Hindus of North America (CoHNA) stated, “We express our deepest condolences to the families and friends of over 1.5 Million Armenians who perished in the genocide. We also welcome President Biden’s long awaited recognition of the genocide.”

The killings took place in the days of the Ottoman Empire, the forerunner of modern-day Turkey. But the issue is highly sensitive, and previous US administrations have not used the term genocide in formal statements amid concerns over damaging relations with Turkey, a NATO ally.

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